Situated amid the green, pre-Alpine foothills around Fribourg, the medieval town and castle known as Gruyères is justly an enormously popular tourist attraction and cultural site. The sole means of public transportation in the town is a trackless train that circulates semi-regularly, so plan on doing a lot of walking. Happily, your ambulation will take you on a journey through more than eight centuries of living history, architecture and culture. Needless to say, the cheese on offer is pretty good as well (most notably at the La Maison du Gruyère cheese factory).
To say that the hill above the river Saane on which the old residence rests is picturesque would be an understatement. Equally arresting is the work of Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor and set designer H.R. Giger (of Alien fame), whose Oscar-winning imaginings are on display in nearby St. Germain. If you’re interested in museums, the recently-opened Tibet Museum in Gruyères features 300 Buddhist sculptures, pictures and ritual works from various Himalayan regions.
The titular castle plays host to regular concerts and theatrical performances. For climbers, the imposing Mont Moléson beckons (visitors disinclined to risk life and limb can mount the summit via cable car).
Gruyères makes an excellent day trip from Geneva, Switzerland (via the Golden Panoramic Express Train), or stay a night or two at either the Hostellerie des Chevaliers, or the Hotel de Ville. Both establishments are moderately priced (not quite hostel rates, but far from exorbitant).
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